Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Legal Dictionary Home

Need Professional Help? Talk to a Lawyer

Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area

searchbox small
The top law enforcement officer for a county, usually elected, who is responsible for police protection outside of incorporated cities, management of the county jail, and providing bailiffs for protection of the courts. The sheriff's uniformed police are called deputy sheriffs. A sheriff also handles civil activities like serving summons, subpenas, and writs, conducting judgment sales, and fulfilling various functions ordered by the courts.